Remember When …

Ralph Nehring and his family still own Nehring’s Market, 3517 S. Belsay Rd., in Burton. Photo provided

Ralph Nehring and his family still own Nehring’s Market, 3517 S. Belsay Rd., in Burton. Photo provided

How America was settled is a passion of mine, since part of my family got here in the 1600s from England. The journey to becoming the United States of America was not easy one, after Columbus showed up, there was more to discover.

Ancient Greeks have known for more than 2,000 years the world is not flat, they studied the moon, which was also round.

Let’s explore this new world of the Americas and how different cultures brought us together. I would like to share about some ways our food has evolved through the years, as we became a nation, from such a diverse world.

The first adventurers who came here were mostly European settlers, they learned about the land and the climates from the Native Americans. The European cultures were different because they had been established thousands of years earlier.

They were used to a very different way of preparing food and eating, for sure. As the colonists came, they had to learn how to farm the land for all their own food and bartering with the neighbors.



With advancements after each war, came more progress with roads etc. like the railroad going from coast to coast to help commerce. The first stream engine was built in London in 1804, by Trevithick.

General stores were opened in the 1800s to help meet the needs of the community. The first cash register or “incorruptible cashier” was invented in America by a saloon owner name James Ritter in 1883 and it had a bell on it that rang when you were finished. Then came the term “ringing you up”. This way the business owners could keep better records of the Point of Sale and less loss because of credit not being paid.

Moving ahead, to the first grocery store in 1927 in Milwaukee by a Polish immigrate Maxwell Kohl (changing later to Kohl’s department stores).

All over Genesee County we had many little Mom and Pop stores, like Bueche’s in Flushing started in the 1900s, Gaines Village Grocery, Landmark Market in Flint still open.

Burton Grocery, Beal’s Market and Hamady Brothers are now closed. Even stores that combined together like A&P, Kessel’s and others are closed because of the big box stores.

Ralph Nehring and his family still own Nehring’s Market, 3517 S. Belsay Rd., and this year they celebrate 60 years as a family business.

While talking with Nehring in the store, he said he graduated from Atherton Schools in 1956, then went off to college on his return his family started the grocery store. Still having fresh produce, a butcher, deli and a baker you can smell the wonderful homemade aroma as you walk in the door, of the fantastic variety of fresh goods for all. Fresh goods from local farmers are available during the harvest time and don’t forget the apple orchards.

I really enjoy having the all the wonderful “Mom and Pop shops” in our county, we are always trying to support local small businesses here.

Michigan is a wonderful place to start a small business. Even if you like the big box stores, don’t forget the people that started our small-town stores, let’s keep them going.

You will be surprised how friendly and wonderful they all are with great stories to tell. I know we have so many choices with the on-line shopping, but we all need each other in 2021.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email